The Mileage Of Shame



From top: Frank O’Rourke TD; Mr O’Rourke’s journey from Celbridge, Co Kildare to Leinster House, Dublin 2 according to Google Maps.

Intrepid expenses hound Ken Foxe writes:

A Newly-elected TD is being paid an extra €16,000-a-year in tax-free expenses because his drive to work is 500 metres above the threshold for politicians that live close to the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil’s Frank O’Rourke, who was elected in the Kildare North constituency, is being paid travel and accommodation expenses of more than €2,100 per month.

Under current rules, TDs who live less than 25 kilometres from the Dáil are paid €9,000 a year tax-free to cover their travel costs to work, and also for travel within their constituency.

However, once they live above a threshold of 25 kilometres – their rate of payment makes a dramatic jump of more than 180 per cent.

In the claim form submitted by Mr O’Rourke to authorities at Leinster House, he has said the distance that he must travel to the Dáil each day is exactly 25.5 kilometres.

However, when the trip from his home to Leinster House is entered into Google Maps, the distance is said to be 24 kilometres.

Despite that, Mr O’Rourke is correct and when the trip was measured independently, it came in at just above 25 kilometres.

Mr O’Rourke said:

“I was asked for the distance. I set the clock on my car and on three occasions and following the only way I can go – no long way or manipulation of it whatsoever, I got 25.5 kilometres and on another day I got 26. I averaged it at 25.5 kilometres.

If it was 22, it would have gone down [as that]. I’m not into that sort of carry-on or stuff whatsoever.…”

How an extra 500 metres can mean an additional €16,000-a-year in the ridiculous world of Irish political expenses (Ken Foxe)

59 thoughts on “The Mileage Of Shame

  1. Donger

    Unbelievable. Get on the 67 bus, it’s €3.30 each way..or go mad and splash out on the 67X, it’ll have him in work in 35 minutes.

      1. Joe Bloggs

        Exactly this! As someone who lives in his area, he’s a fupping plonker regardless.

        1. Donger

          That he is. His constituency office on main st Leixlip looks like a derelict squatters hole. If he had some local pride he’d at least fix the smashed front window

          1. Joe Bloggs

            I think he has an office in Celbridge now too……so maybe the Leixlip one is unused.

            Him and Bernard Durkan can both go and poop tho.

            Those two are just the worst!

          2. Joe cool

            I was doing security at a recent event in maynooth uni. Areas strictly traffic controlled. no traffic in or out except emergency services. Up drives Bernard Durkin. Drives around the barrier, refuses to stop. Gets stopped by the campus security and then pulls out the doozy “Do you not know who I am”? Yeh but you can still turn around and use a car park was the response

  2. Shockabilly

    the same silly line in the sand type rules are rife across the public service – Single person living alone with a weekly income of €189 – medical card – free GPs the whole lot. Income of €189.10 flip all.

    Is there no one in the civil service who can cope with the concept of graduated scales rather than rigid cut off bands… MATHS people, simple bloody MATHS.

    I often used to wonder if this might to to allow public representatives to intervene in those cases at the margins but that’s probably tinfoil hat territory. Sheer inertia and a lack of a willingness to apply an intelligent solution is far more likely.

  3. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

    I loved Frank’s reaction to this

    He’s certainly my idea of a public servant

  4. rotide

    Is Ken Foxe complaining about the mechanism of expenses or is it the fact that the shadowy elite are covering up the actual distance when google maps clearly shows it to be under 25 km and therefore the witch should be burned?

      1. rotide

        my point is why bother to include the bit about google maps saying its 24km when it has been conclusively proven to be over 25.

        My point is that is blatant use of spin to back up his argument. Someone call Jules.

        1. Mickey Twopints

          “Conclusively proven” by the bona fides of an FF TD with the surname O’Rourke?

          Right. Got ya.

          1. rotide

            [i]Despite that, Mr O’Rourke is correct and when the trip was measured independently, it came in at just above 25 kilometres.[/i]

            Nothing to do with O’Rourke. It was verified ‘independantly’, the author acknowledges this. If the author thought he could disprove this he would absolutely have mentioned it. Instead of he includes the bit about google maps to spice up the narrative a bit and bingo, morons like you two are hooked.

            You guys need to learn to read and stop being so easily manipulated.

          2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            Please rotide…

            You’re defending the indefensible, and making a balls of it into the bargain.
            -All you do is bring attention to something you’d rather have everyone ignore.

            The two words that grate in my throat are ‘Public Representative’..

            I could be misjudging him…
            …perhaps he got an independent judge to calculate his mileage, and put the cost on his expenses…I dunno…

  5. Angry man

    This doesn’t make me angry at all, on my 50.1km journey to work on my 22,000 a year salary.

    1. Rugbyfan

      We need to get Clare Daly, Mick Wallace et al to focus on this sham and as for Michelle getting into the Seanad…Jesus Wept!

      1. Paul

        Pointless. They’re too busy claiming their own expenses, and wouldn’t want to highlight it.

  6. 15 cents

    Zappone is worse, she purposely went a longer route to get in the higher expense band, sayin its a more efficient route. how could it be more efficient if its longer? theyre all cods. and sure how often do they actually go in anyway? and when they do, what actual work do they do? the whole government is just a cruisey job zone. people like this creep tryna make as much as they can, with no intention of doing anything.

    1. pedeyw

      I’m not defending her here but there are plenty of reasons why a longer route could be more efficient or faster. Traffic, speed limits, traffic restrictions, etc. I still don’t think she should getting the bigger travel expenses, though.

  7. Owen

    I’m not sure the person is to blame here (although he could have not claimed it!). The problem is the ridiculous policy of 2k expenses per month!

    It works out about €100 a day. Why cant the public service do like any business and pay expenses for receipts!

    1. 15 cents

      ur spot on there. the reason they dont is because it requires a modicum of work. they’d have to take in the receipts and add them up. whereas with this system theres no work involved at all, they just have a set rate. laziness basically. and jsut not caring.. not caring that is tax payers money, which is needed badly across the services, but it gets wasted on nonsense like this.

  8. Ken F

    No, his commute is just above 25km and am not disputing that at all. It’s the arbitrary and unvouched nature of the system, which bothers me. We have a scenario where a TD lives 24.5km away and gets €9,000-a-year in travel (and accommodation) expenses but a person living less than a mile further gets an additional €16,000 for the very same journey. The real rationale behind this system is that it means politicians don’t have to vouch their claims. That means nobody can ever query whether they are actually incurring the costs they are refunded for. The system is specifically designed to avoid detailed public scrutiny.

    1. Anne

      Keep up the good work Ken.. it’s good to name and shame these scroungers.
      Although, I’m not sure they feel shame.

      1. rotide

        taking something you are entitled to is scrounging?

        Hand back your wages every week do you?

          1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            Get a grip Anne.
            – You sling around insults like confetti. You ought to expect the same in return.

        1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

          taking something you are entitled to is scrounging?

          I think in this case it’s very difficult to call it anything else.

          When you live 500m from the threshold and you elect* to opt for the €25,000 instead of the €9,000, when you’d probably struggle to produce receipts for the €9,000…in these times…as a public representative…

          What do you call it?

          *No pun intended

  9. Eoin

    That’s it son! Milk it! Grab everything you can. Sure everyone’s at it!! You’ll be out on your ear before the summers out, God willing.

  10. Punches Pilot

    Hmmmm. Other Government department seem to be using Google maps to their advantage so as not to pay mileage allowances. Funny when the cap fits.

    1. 15 cents

      if only they put the same effort into their actual jobs. the jobs theyre gettin overpaid to travel to.

  11. Saul

    That photo was taken before Frank managed to secure unneeded traffic lights for the good people of Celbridge at that junction at an incredible cost. I’m not going to say how much was spent on them as I don’t want Frank’s lawyers on my case, but he did phone me to tell me how much they cost and it’s a mind blowing figure. The lights have caused traffic jams since their installation.

    Anyway, guess who just happens to live at that junction?

    1. Owen

      I don’t know the junction, but this is a huge urban problem, and not just in Dublin. Councils stick up pedestrian lights / traffic lights without any calculations on ripple effects to traffic.

      Its sad, but failures in urban planning is actually something that annoys me to an irrational level.

  12. Anomanomanom

    What’s the problem here. He claimed because he can, all above board and legal. Since when is expenses a surprise, they should be vouched but that’s irish politics for you.

    1. pedeyw

      I think maybe you’re missing the point, it’s not him specifically but his particular circumstances highlights a major problem with how TD’s expenses are evaluated.

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        Get a grip.
        -If you were him you’d have read the claim sheet, or whatever it’s called. You’d be aware of the 25km limit.
        – Maybe you’d think, ‘Oh, my journey is about 25km…I’ll put that down…
        – Or maybe, in a different Universe you’d set the clock on your car on more than three occasions and drive into work, revving the bejayzus out of your engine, stopping for a breakfast roll and throwing it in the bin, going around a roundabout twice just for the craic and recording it.

        Politicians are a bit strange like that.
        (I don’t know this bloke, but I feel like I do.)

    1. Rugbyfan

      how many of them would have went up for election if the salary was say a basic 50K and only increased with experience. The expenses alone make the job extremely attractive!

  13. panga panga

    Wait until the Chicago based Fine Gael Senator appointed by Bellenda puts in his travel exes…

    1. Owen

      I hoped we might get an article today on that one. Not only does he live in the states, but he gave Enda’s daughter a job on her J1. 100% jobs for the lads, irrelevant of practicality, ability or the fact he does not live in Ireland. A fuppin joke.

  14. Condescending nana

    there’s probably a whole branch of siptu set up for public servants to battle for a 25% pay increase if they are ever asked to perform any sort of receipt checking.

  15. John

    As a LTD company, travelling to the same place of work each day (contractor) I am specifically NOT allowed claim mileage travelling from my office to work as work is considered “normal place of work” so mileage or subsistence not allowed. I agree with this and it was abused up to a few years ago before Revenue tightened up the rules.

    What’s the difference between me/anyone else and a TD from a revenue perspective?

    It’s clearly called out here

    They are leaving home and travelling to Leinster House being their normal place of work.

    Business Journeys

    A business journey is one in which an employee travels from one place of work to another place of work in the performance of the duties of his/her employment but will generally involve a temporary absence from the normal place of work.

    Journeys between an employee’s home and place of work (and vice versa) are not business journeys and any reimbursement of motoring expenses (including taxi fares) in respect of the cost of such journeys is taxable.

  16. moel

    politicians should have no expenses and in fact work for free

    wouldn’t that be great.

  17. Tony

    Would Ken ever think of investigating the pay and compensation culture of RTE? I think if he is going out to judge other public servants, he should make sure his own sty is clean.

    Overnights anyone much?

  18. Mulder

    Look feck the expense, get him his own personal helicopter, for such a long hard journey.
    Nothing is too good for our TD`s.

  19. Kieran NYC

    *deep breaths*

    The clamour of independent TDs scrambling to fix this is deafening…

    Pay them a wealthy (ish) wage and do away with all the other top-up shenanigans.

  20. Tony

    Fianna FAILure…. as the certain soft drinks ad says, ‘C’mon, what did you expect?’

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